Social inequality Topic 4a AGE

patterns and trends of inequality and difference AGE 

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Who suffers from age inequality?

People in the stages of life considered to be youth and old age may experience more problems than the middle aged. Economic, social and cultural exclusion could be considered to be exidence of inequality. In particular the number of elderly people in our population is increaseing so the balence of our population is changing. 

20.5 mil people of 50= up 690,000 since 2001 thats 1/3rd of the pop

2.7 mill people in the u.k over 80 up 220,000 since 2002 

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Economic inequality

  • young people likely to earn less and have less wealth stored than other sections of the population.
  • elderly also suffer from low levels of income as they retire (33% of single pensioners live bellow the poverty line and 19% of those living under the poverty line are pensioners)
  • within pensioning groups there are differences between those who are married and those who are single (single female pensioners most likely to live in poverty) and Ginn and Arber- bangla and **** women most vunerable.
  • Those who have had low paid jobs in their working life (wc, women, ethnic minoritories) are also likely to suffer financial disadvantage in later years
  • Significant difference between those retiring with a state pension and those who retire with large stores of wealth such as private pensions and investments.
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Inequality in the work place

  • european legislation passed in 2006 made age discrimination illegal however
  • MORI survey- found 1 in 5 workers questioned reported having being discriminated against because of their age, elderly reported being sidelined and "put out to pasture" young people report being patronised and overlooked due to assumptions to do with their skills and experience. middle aged also reported discrimmination when they reached "chuld bearing age`' leading employers to beleive they would priorotise childcare. 
  • arber and ginn- older people make significant contributions to the economy via unpaid work for example careing for grandchildren and vountering for charities in larger nuumbers than other groups, they also provide loans, emotional support and help with practical issues such as offering housing when neccacary. 
  • Featherstone and hepworth (postmods)- argue individual lifecourses are now being de constructed and individualised so that older people may retire very early or continue to work will into their old age i.e mich jagger or nelson mandela. Similaraly some young people take on hugely responsible roles i.e emily benn who is standing as an MP at the age of 18.
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Inequality in health

elderly suffer discrimination in health treatment i.e breast cancer screaning only until age of 64 and young women no cerivical cancer scan until 25

medicas may argue that these age limits are sound decidions yet age limits especially for the elderly population reflect assumptions our society makes about who's valuable. 

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Inequality in the media

Old age is often linked to childhood in everyday life and the media

Hockey and James- point out that very old people may be jokingly described as entering their "second childhood" or "going gaga" when their memories fade the term gaga refers to the noises babies make when their helpless and depend on adults to care for them. Steryotypes such as little old ladies personify the elderly as powerless and passive like an infant. 

In the media children and the elderly are often portrayed as having an affinity with eachother because their both dependent, i.e in the fild cinema paradiso an elderly man and young boy bond over a love of cinema , children and the elderly are often paralelled in adverts.

This process of showing oldage as similar to childhood is called infantalisation and everyday talk and steryotypes all contribute to this. 

Jenny Hockey (study of old peoples homes)- found the clients often treated like children, not allowed to keep money given pocket money by staff, expected not to be sexually active, privacy of their bodies invaided as staff members often dressed them. she agues "residentual homes encourage social dependancy by reducing peoples opportunities for indipendence and self determination. 

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Inequality in the media 2

Young people have also been steryotyped in the media

CCCS- showed how young people who feel marginalised use subcultures and styles to make a political point i.e teddy boys subculture reflected an attempt by a marganalised group to gain political space outside dominant culture however the media reported such groups in a negative fashion creating what Cohen called "folk devils" and "moral panics" this is evidence young people may face inequality in the way the media treats them which in turn may lead to military policing and social marginalisation as others may come to fear these groups.

Carrigan and szmigin- argue the advertising industry either ignores the elderly or caricatures them as dependend, withering physically ugly and loosing their minds. 

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Evaluation

  • postmodernists argue roles accociated with age groups are breaking down 
  • Pilcher- the modern form of life course is breaking down, the boundries between different stages are increasingly blurred as people become more interested in self identity thy may present hemselves or act in ways which contradict the norms accociated with different life course stages i.e children dressing like adults and addults dressing in youthful styles.
  • WIde variatons in the age of people marrying and childbearing increasing longevity, early retirment, advantages in medicine, the development in cosmetic sugary and IVF may all have undermined the relitevly clear cut stages of the life course acciciated with modernity.He admits that the effects of age in society are changing so that the life course is becoming less rigid however she also says that the balence of the evidence points towards the continuing importance of aged based social divisions 
  • Thus suggestions that entire groups are dissadvantaged re outdated as the intersections of class, gender and ethnicity make a significant difference. 
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